Hello all, my 1923 touring/pickup came to me without a magneto and with a Truefire ignition installed. The car runs great and starts quickly with the starter, but does not seem to want to start with the crank. I get a few occasional coughs, but just about wore my arm out trying to get a successful crank start. Before I attempt a start, I always pull the engine over a couple of times with the key off and the choke on. Am I doing it correctly, or is there a secret that I am missing?
Yes, I'm pulling the crank up with my left hand and am being careful not to hook my thumb over the crank handle. And, since the car doesn't have a magneto, chucking the Truefire and switching to coils is not in the cards for a while, sorry.
I'm not sure why you are having a problem. I've been using a Truefire on my 13 for more than 10 years strictly hand start
Thanks for the reply. From what I've seen in the forum, it's important for the Truefire to be getting a full 6V. I would think that the voltage to the Truefire would be higher during a crank start since there's no current draw from the starter.
I haven't gotten any free starts yet either, although a couple of times I have heard the Truefire buzzing when I turned the key on.
I've only had the car for a couple of months, maybe I just haven't figured out just how much priming my car prefers, I'll keep experimenting. Should I adjust the carb needle a little richer for a crank start than when using the starter?
You just MIGHT be over-choking. In reasonably warm weather I'd attempt it with maybe one yank with the choke on. (Actually,I'd try it with no choke first). Possibly moving the throttle down a bit too.
Thanks, I'll try no choke next time. If that doesn't work, then I'll try one pull with the choke on instead of two. Now that I know that the car should be able to start with the crank, it's just a matter of finding out what procedure the car likes best.
I would really like to be able to crank start the car, because at car shows that's what everybody wants to see, using the starter is like wimping out.
I will admit that I am prone to spinning the engine (just as I do with my '27 when I crank start it on magneto). I am not recommending this to you, but it is a practice I have adopted over 40 years, and it has not bit me yet!!! I have other practices that scare the hell out of some (like putting gasoline INTO a fuel tank and then warming it up before I solder it) and pulling a 2 wheel car trailer at 75 mph!!! I don't suggest you copy me!!!
When using any kind of non original ignition system people often neglect to do the same thing that needed to be done when they were complaining about the original ignition. This is a typical case - the timing is not set properly, making the car impossible to start using the crank. Other common faults are bad ignition switches, loose wiring, over charging generators or alternators.
You need to set the timing properly. It's very easy to do this. There are dozens of previous threads on the subject, use the search feature above.
True Fire boxes can be rendered worthless by bad connections or bad ignition switches. Be sure all your wiring is in good condition, and the coil box is in good shape. I recommend a Fun Projects rebuild kit if it does not already have one.
Mark, since you bought the car with the Truefire system as opposed to installing yourself, then you don't know for sure if it's adjusted properly. Here are the instructions from the manufacturer on doing this:
1. Set the Spark Rod all the way to Retard or at the top.
2. Remove all four spark plug wires.
3. Remove all four spark plugs.
4. Attach plug wires back to plugs and set each of them on the head, turn on the ignition key.
5. One person now has to slowly turn the crank, by hand, just until the #1 and #4 plugs start firing, while a second person peaks in the spark plug hole with a small pen light to note the position of the piston. If the piston has just reached Top Dead Center and started down about 1/8th inch, you are good to go and can turn off the ignition key, put the plugs back in and attach the wires.
Alignment Procedure (when the above did not indicate alignment)
6. Remove the Spark Rod from the Timer and rotate the Timer Connection about 1/2 inch closer to the Passenger Side or Counter Clockwise looking from the Front.
7. One person has to turn the crank, by hand, while a second person peaks in the spark plug hole with a small pen light to note the position of the piston. Stop turning the crank when the #1 piston has just reached Top Dead Center and started down about 1/8th inch.
8. Slowly move the Timer Connection toward the Driver's Side or Clockwise from the Front. Stop when the buzz noise starts.
9. Bend the Spark Rod until it will go back in the Timer Connection without moving the timer position.
10. Repeat the Test Procedure to insure the setting is correct. Wear in the linkage may move that setting several degrees.
I hope this helps.
Thankyou all for your comments and the proper timing procedure. I'll ask a friend to come over and help me check the timing.
I have been running a True-Fire system in my '11 for years. I could not keep the Heinze coils going. I'm running a 5 ball carb. I have a 12 volt gell battery which is charged by Bittner's charging system.
To start my car:
1. Turn the carb rod 1/4 turn to enrich the mixture.
2. Spin the engine a couple of time with the key off.
3. Spin the engine with the key on and it starts. Of course, when there are a lot of people watching, it does not like to start. (Ha, Ha!)
I was having issues also . This helped a lot.
That tool is not intended to work with all timers ... be careful.
Success! I checked the timing and it was pretty close, but I lengthened the rod by about 1/16 inch to get it spot on. This morning with the engine cold, I gave it one pull with the ignition off and the choke on, then turned the key on and got a cough on the first pull. Two more pulls and the engine fired right up, thankyou all for your help!
Oh, I forgot to mention that I did richen the mixture by 1/4 turn for the start, then slowly leaned it back down as the engine warmed up.
I'm betting your mixture was the problem all along. I always richen by 1/4 to 1/2 turn (Summer/Winter respectively) before starting. I am always surprised how quickly it 'warms up' and wants to be leaned out. Usually only a minute or so.
I had an e-timer put in yesterday and now my arm is in a sling. BTW The e-timer was put in me, not the T.
Be sure to have your spark retarded before getting up in the morning.... Feel better soon !!
Thanks Bob, Getting better every day.